Americans For Refugees and Immigrants hold “Rally for Refugees” in Seattle

In a sunny and cold day at Victor Steinbruck Park, over 100 activists gathered to rally in support of welcoming refugees to Washington and Seattle. Speakers at the rally included Maha Jahshan from Mayor Ed Murray’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee affairs, American Naval Veteral Ben Wiselogle with Oxfam America, Varisha Khan from the UW School of Journalism, Linh Thai as Congressman Smith’s District Representative, and Congressman McDermott.

Varisha Khan says “It’s been 14 years since the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th. And for the last 14 years, Muslims have been the face of the word terror. We’ve heard over and over again to fear the Syrian refugees, because a few of them maybe, could possibly, be potential terrorists. Even though we know that the number of Syrian refugees who have committed terrorist attacks on America is zero. Recently, two presidential candidates have claimed that there were Muslims celebrating and cheering as the towers came down on September 11th. Of course, that claim has been debunked and falsified…between 9/11 and June of 2015, 26 people have been killed by self proclaimed jihadists in mass killings in the US. At first blush, that number seems large and worrisome, 26. But, double that number and you’ll find the number of people who have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics, and other non-Muslim extremists have killed double that number in the same time. Yet, we are told to still fear Muslim’s more than anyone else and to fear these “jihadists”. As a Muslim, let me tell you, jihadist is not an Islamic term. Let me also tell you what jihad really means. An Arabic term, jihad is commonly referred to as holy war, actually only means struggle…In Syria, every person is struggling to stay alive, from the threat of oppressive regime and armed insurgents. That’s their jihad. Being able to protect themselves by any means necessary from those impending threats. And for those that made it out of Syria and are lucky to be on a shore, safe and sound, somewhere, their jihad is different. Their jihad, their struggle is to find shelter, and food, and to stay alive. Their solution, is to find help so they can find food for just one more day. In the US, Muslim Americans have their own jihad, our struggle is going about our daily lives without being attacked on the street just for wearing a hijab, or speaking a different language at an Applebees. And to deal with the shouts and comments to go back to our countries, by people in person and on TV. We forget that we take pride in calling America a melting pot. We forget that our country was built on the backs of immigrants.”

Congressman McDermott spoke and said, “What you’re doing is very important. It’s important because the country has to see that there are people in this country who care about refugees… This should be a place of refuge for people from the rest of the world…When I look out at this crowd, maybe there are 1 or 2 exceptions, we all came to this country as immigrants…The strength of this country, has been the immigration of people to this country. When you’re a refugee, you don’t have anywhere else to go. There’s no place to go back to. You have to make it here. And so the energy that goes in from all the refugees and immigrants that come into this country drive this country forward. There’s no other choice, you have to make it here…What’s being posed for the American people today is a choice between a safe country and a compassionate country. That is not the choice. We don’t have to make that kind of choice. You can be an empathic country and a safe one…This whole idea that you can scare the American people is a political tactic.”

When asked about today’s event, organizer Anny Khan says she “just wants for people to educate themselves. We cannot as a world leader be intimidated by a group of thugs. We have no reason to question a system that has been effectively put in place and successfully bringing refugees [for] decades.”


From the Facebook event page…

Americans for Refugees & Immigrants calls for unity. We will not give in to fear mongering, xenophobia & Islamophobia. We are in concurrence with Governor Jay Inslee‘s stance. We have a moral obligation to help the Syrians find a new home. 10,000 Syrians are a mere 0.0003% of our population. We cannot accomodate 10,000 out of 4.2 million Syrians? We are Americans. We have a history of helping the persecuted not shutting our doors on them. We stand united as a community, a city, a state, a nation. We are not afraid! Welcome refugees!…” –



Black Lives Matter activists disrupt Black Friday shopping in downtown Seattle

More than 500 activists marched through downtown Seattle, disrupting shopping at times as they entered Macy’s, Forever 21, Pacific Place and Westlake Mall. Activists started in Westlake Park, eventually moving to stores in the area, chanting “Whose lives matter? Black Lives Matter!” as shoppers scurried by, clutching their recently purchased Black Friday deals. At times, demonstrators were stopped at one door by police or security, only to open another door and walk in.

While in stores or malls, activists sang and chanted “Same story every time, being black is not a crime” as they walked through, some carrying signs and banners. In Forever 21, shoppers were seen continuing to browse sale racks as activists walked by, demanding an end to the murder of black and brown lives at the hands of police. In other stores, employees could be seen closing and locking doors or standing in front of them, only allowing “shoppers” through.


Police were seen blocking sidewalks and streets, telling demonstrators to “walk around” the buildings, which they did, only to have demonstrators form on both sides of the police line. Some not associated with the demonstration could he heard yelling “All Lives Matter”, prompting one to wonder if they shouted as loudly for Syrian refugees. Four arrests were reported but there were no reports of pepper spray or blast balls being used on demonstrators.

In addition to demanding an end to murders of people of color by police, activists also informed those gathered to watch a tree lighting of the unrelenting racism prevalent in society from the school to prison pipeline in education to the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. The numbers of those celebrating the tree lighting were down significantly from the year before, and those who made it downtown this year were greeted by surprises. One of those surprises was the significant amount of fireworks shot from the roof of Macy’s at the end of the countdown and the lighting of the tree. The other surprise was the balloon release when more than 20 helium filled “Merry Christmas” balloons were released with signs attached that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Fuck The Police” as the fireworks went off and the tree was lit.

From the Facebook event page “#BlackLivesMatterFriday 2.0 : The Quest For Freedom

#BlackFriday Cheap Deals do NOT matter —#BlackLivesMatter 

IF BLACK LIVES and your life matters More 
than #BlackFriday Cheap deals?

–Then JOIN US and invite Everyone 


Freddie gray,Eric Garner ,Tamir Rice,, Tony Robinson and Sandra Bland were killed by police and hundreds of other unarmed people of color WERE KILLED BY POLICE in 2015 already


WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND BE UNITED AS ONE AGAINST injustice ,racism,oppression,police brutality and get JUSTICE FOR Freddie gray,Mike Brown,Tamir Rice,Tony Robison,Sandra Bland and hundreds of other unarmed people of color KILLED BY POLICE

people must gather and make a very visible and loud demonstration and do what it takes to get justice for Eric Garner and Freddie gray,,Tamir Rice,Tony Robison and hundreds of other unarmed people of color KILLED BY POLICE.Also, end racism and anti blackness and racial injustice and inequality ECT. ! Bring signs and , bring cardboard and markers so other people can make signs.

INVITE EVERYONE –Lets see who can invite the most to THIS EVENT

-Family Friendly-AND —- come rain or shine



Family friendly— come rain or shine

Media relations-

Questions— contact


#BlackLivesMatter #NotBlackFriday #BlackLivesMatterFriday 

Anti-refugee protest at Washington State Capitol in Olympia met by larger group of pro-refugee demonstrators


Just over one hundred anti-refugee demonstrators met on the steps of the Washington State Capitol building to protest the recent announcement by Governor Jay Inslee that Washington would continue to accept refugees from Syria. You can read about it here… Gov. Jay Inslee says…

Over 150 pro-refugee demonstrators started by standing on the steps of the Washington Supreme Court but ended up in the parking lot near the steps of the Capitol Building while chanting and being pushed back by “security” until State Troopers attempted control.


“Security” from the anti-refugee demonstration linked arms and pushed pro-refugee demonstrators back as the lone Washington State Trooper attempted to keep order. Backup was called in and 8-10 troopers eventually formed a line preventing pro-refugee demonstrators from getting closer.


The anti-refugee group could also be heard complaining of the “denial of [their] first amendment rights” while speaking over a PA system. An anti-refugee demonstrator can be seen below pushing a pro-refugee demonstrator off the sidewalk at the Capitol building, into the parking lot and away from “their side” as seen in the images below.


An altercation where an anti-refugee demonstrator was seen hitting a pro-refugee demonstrator with a sign can be seen in the images below.


Some demonstrators in protest of accepting refugees expressed concern over the vetting process and “Ted” from the “Shelton area” says he’s there “to let Governor Inslee know that we shouldn’t be bringing in just anybody, cause we all know that there are some people in ISIS who have been infiltrating and until we know why they’re coming in here and who they are, we shouldn’t let them in.” Ted later added, “We’re not here to be radicals or say we don’t like immigrants or refugees, we just want to do it correctly, we want to save our country. Because, we’re going to get hit one of these days. Will it be one of these Syrians? We don’t know that, but why risk it? Why risk my family, my wife, my child, in a mall that gets blown up because we didn’t take our time. Why rush it? ”


State Representative Cindy Ryu had this to say about her attendance at the demonstration…”As a Christian, I am for keeping our principles of as United States citizens of keeping it open, as we have done for centuries. As an immigrant myself and having been welcomed, I would like to extend that love and openness to other immigrants, including refugees.”. When asked about anti-refugee demonstrators fear of ISIS infiltrating refugees, she responded “It’s just like every other hate group, of acting and reacting, knee jerk reactions without knowing the full scope of the issues are, and just reacting without thinking it through.” When asked about the concerns that the vetting process isn’t good enough, Representative Ryu says, “Every immigrant is fingerprinted, as I was.  We actually have way more evidence of immigrants than we have of American born citizens. In my opinion, we are vetting them as much as any other country.” Representative Strom Peterson from the 21st Legislative District adds “They’re waiting 18-24 months before they’re even allowed to the next process. These are primarily families and women with young children, older folks that have been living in really tough conditions, but being interviewed through the process. This is the same fear that has been used in any immigration story in the history of our country, whether it’s the Italians, or the Irish, obviously the Jews coming over before World War 2 were turned away. The same kind of paranoia, and fear, and oh, it’s the other. I’m here standing with my friend, Cindy, an immigrant, and obviously my ancestors were. This is where we have to stand up. Especially in Washington, we have a history of accepting immigrants into our state that have created a culture that is second to none across the country. Whether it was the Vietnamese that we brought in the early 70’s or just throughout our history. Here’s another opportunity to show what we’re made of as Washingtonians and not succumb to the fear.” Representative Ryu adds…”to that point, the innovative economy in Washington state is due to a lot of the welcoming of immigrants, whether they’re refugees or any other type of immigrants and as a Christian woman, this is exactly what Jesus would do, welcoming refugees.” Cindy and Strom can be seen holding signs below.


Activists in support of refugees in Washington could be heard chanting “Don’t give in to racist fear, refugees are welcome here” and “hey hey, ho ho, all these racists got to go”


Miriam Padilla, above, a cousin of one of the Paris terrorist attack victims, says “One of the biggest mistakes is to not understand that Arabs and Muslims are some of ISIS’s biggest victims. Not welcoming refugees will not stop terrorism. I don’t know how anyone could hold a sign that says ‘no refugees’. It’s inhumane. It’s ignorance, racism, nationalism, they’re wrong.” Scans of Miriam’s statement can be read below.

Kingston (almost 8), hidden by a sign below, came out because”I support all these people here….I support refugees”. His mother, Lisa, adds “Fundamentally as parents we feel we like have to teach him to take a stand. We spend a lot of time talking about this stuff and we feel that it doesn’t do good just to talk about it. We need to be able demonstrate that we’re also willing to do something about what we say we believe in.”


Anti refugee protesters then climbed the steps to the Capitol building to deliver a petition with 1800 signatures demanding an end to the placement of Syrian refugees in Washington to Governor Inslee’s office.


Counter protesters soon took the steps of the Capitol where they held a speak out and listened as Miriam Padilla read her statement. The two groups remained separated by State Troopers until both sides began to leave Capitol grounds. No arrests were made.





Seattle students, activists, and community members march in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri

Students from the University of Washington joined with community activists to rally at Red Square and march through UW’s campus. More than 300 demonstrators marched through the rain in solidarity with Black students at the University of Missouri. The protest moved from Red Square to Gerberding Hall home to the office of the President, Provost, and other administrative offices. Protesters then moved to Suzzallo Library and the Reading Room chanting “Same story every time, being black is not a crime” and “Black Lives Matter”.

Activists then marched across a wet Red Square to Odegaard Undergraduate Library where they held space for people of color to speak on issues of race, white supremacy, and the inherent racism in our education system. The demonstration then moved 15th Ave, taking the street and holding space at 45th Ave., backing up traffic for miles to read the names of those killed at the hands of police, vigilantes, and white supremacists. Police were witnessed pushing a young woman of color as activists took the streets, but no arrests were made.

From the Facebook event page…”We, as black students and the black community in Seattle stand in Solidarity With the Black Students at the University of Missouri. After a series of racist incidents led to the resignation of two top officials, President Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin–We are seeing the lives of Black students being openly threatened and terrorized within their own campus. This terrorism is not new to us at the University of Washington. Black students do not have the privillege to obsess over Starbucks cups when educational systems that are meant to be safe spaces continually fail us. Not only do we have to jump through tremendous obstacles like school to prison pipeline and police brutality but furthermore– black students at Missouri are fleeing campus amidst threats in order to save their lives. Black students at UW know this fear and what it means to have no system built to protect us. This demonstration is to show our solidarity!. All allies are asked to stand with us.
Please bring signs with these readings for Unity.

“I Support Jonathan Butler”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” ” – Solidarity With University of Missouri Black Students

Activists stand in solidarity with Palestine after wave of violence hits Gaza and the West Bank

Enraged at the deaths, arrests, and beatings at the hands of Israeli settlers and the Israeli Defense Force, activists in Seattle gathered downtown at Westlake Park to raise awareness and voice their concerns. Chants of “Free, free, Palestine” and “While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” could be heard as people passed by Starbucks and Macy’s.

Activists included Warda, a student from Chief Sealth H.S., who came to Westlake to “raise awareness and let people know what’s happening. Most people just watch T.V., CNN or something, and think ‘that’s what happening, they’re telling the truth’ but there’s a lot behind it and there are a lot of innocent people that are dying. I just want to be their voice in a way. I work, and I don’t want my taxes going towards dropping bombs on innocent children.” Anas, a 26 year old activist born in Seattle but whose parents are from Libya, has another word for what’s happening in Palestine. “…straight up genocide, I don’t even like to use the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ cause that would give affirmation to the fact that it is somehow cleansing the land. What we have is mass genocide on the Palestinian people and that’s why I’m here, to speak out against the atrocities. I think we should contact our local representatives in the government and speak out against the support of the Israeli Government. Billions of dollars of taxpayers hard earned cash is being spent for the Israeli government and that’s a crime against humanity.” In 2015, Israel received $3.1 billion in aid from the United States, the majority of which is Foreign Military Funding. US Foreign Aid To Israel 2014 Congressional Report

On the megaphone, activist and organizer Isra Ayesh could be heard leading chants of “Hey Obama why the silence? Do something about the violence” and when asked why she braved the rain to protest at Westlake, she replied “We’re here as a collected group of concerned individuals, members of the human race, no non profit organization. We’re here to send a message to the public that this is actually going on in Palestine and there’s not enough media attention going on about these merciless killings of Palestinians who committed no crimes against anybody and meant no harm and were shot just because they were Palestinian.” Videos depicting these crimes have been showing up in alternative media around the internet, but have yet to garner much corporate media attention. Refugee mistaken for Palestinian killed after mistaken ID by lsraeli citizens and this article from Al Jazerra Palestinians killed by Israeli Occupation Forces give a few possible examples of why you may be seeing a resurgence of demonstrations concerning Palestine, in Seattle.

From the Facebook event page…”Based off the resent events we find it highly important to start protesting. At this point we need to make some noise. The Democratic’s are unsupportive and the republican are out of the question. The recent events of Palestinians cold blooded murders shouldn’t go unheard or unpunished.

Therefore, I’m asking as a collective we must come together to protest for the people in need around the aggression and occupation that has taken over Palestine. We need to explicitly define Israeli war crimes on innocent people!

Let’s stand together and do what is right! Please invite everyone you know and spread this event like wild fire!”

People’s Climate March brings over a thousand to the streets of Seattle

More than a thousand people hit the streets as climate activists protested an array of environmental issues ranging from the TPP, rising ocean levels causing displacement in the Philippines, and the damage being done to indigenous communities around the world. Activists performed “political theatre” at the Federal building, marched to Seattle city hall where they met a contingent of union members before marching to Occidental Park where activist and author Naomi Klein spoke to the diverse group. Speakers also included environmental and social justice activist, Sarra Tekola and a performance by hip hop artist, Gabriel Teodros.

Read more about the People’s Climate March at Seattlish…

Seattle Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day With March And Rally

Indigenous People from many nations and families gathered together to celebrate Seattle’s 2014 resolution to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Since the day Seattle passed their resolution, Albuquerque, Portland, St. Paul, Olympia, and the state of Alaska have made the switch. Additionally, activists in Seattle have worked to adjust public school curriculum to teach students a more accurate version of history.

Demonstrators marched from Westlake to Seattle City hall where Mayor Ed Murray spoke on the importance of continued support for indigenous communities. Kshama Sawant and Bruce Harrell spoke before introducing Winona Laduke, an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg and a prominent environmental activist. “She is also the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, where she works on a national level to advocate, raise public support, and create funding for front line native environmental groups.” you can read more about her here…